Feelings Defined: A One-Question Interview of Interns

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I applied for the editorial and content management internship at Studios Inc because of a tagline on a flyer. “No making coffee, no filing, no busy work! This internship is designed with you, for you!” This quick, comma-filled description pushed me to send in my resume, and that on-a-whim decision has loomed large over my Junior and Senior year in college.

2018 Interns: Album Cover for Pepper Rain

The Executive Director, Associate Director of studios.gallery, and Office Manager encourage, aid, and advance our talents as we work as the photographers, videographers, graphic designers, writers, social media specialists, and exhibition assistants of the organization. But, I’ve always wondered how do the other interns view their internships here? I’ve wanted to do an article that highlights the cogs of the Studios Inc engine for a while, and asks them, ‘What is the point of it all?’

The best way to understand the morale of the troops is to live, work and be amongst them, always asking questions and listening carefully. So, I did just that. I decided that an open-ended question would elicit a more honest and thought-out response.

But, what question? It took only a few minutes to think back only a few years, wherein small classrooms in high school and college I was asked questions like, what do you want to gain from this class? Or how do you expect to grow from this experience? Good questions that needed in-depth answers. So from these experiences, I thought of a variation of a classic, difficult, first day of class question.

“Describe your experience in one word and why did you pick that word?”  

I started with Ben Cottrell, our Digital Media intern, he’s been with us only for a few weeks, but is already an integral member of the team.

“Can you describe your experience in one word?” I asked.

“I don’t know… Fun.” He answered.

Slightly annoyed at the fun cop-out, I asked why’d he choose fun. He responded that I’d only asked for a one-word response. Fair enough. I’d forgotten to ask the second part of the question, and I didn’t want to push for it, I’d caught him off-guard as he’d walked into the office.

I moved onto the next intern, Abigail Brightwell-Gray our Exhibitions Management Intern whose importance and weight around the office cannot be understated. After the initial groaning and complaints that became synonymous with the question, she answered it the way I was hoping for.  

“Thrilling,” she said as I nodded in approval.

She explained the various intricacies and delicate procedures that come along with prepping, setting up, and dismantling a gallery space, creating a show from scratch, all while dealing with artists at the same time. I was pleasantly surprised with Abbey’s response and received something similar in the rest of the interns. Buzz-words like strengthening, diverse, informative, and reassuring were flying around in my head after a slew of one-question interviews. But, I couldn’t help but think about how simple, yet meaningful Ben’s response was. Yes, as interns we’re learning plenty of career-changing lessons, skills, and developing our talent. But, to match that with fun is like a cliche, movie-plot paradox.

As I was contemplating the inner workings and meanings of the word Fun, Thang Nguyen our Video Editing Intern waved and smiled as he walked by. I remembered that I never interviewed him. So I called after him and pulled out my recorder to ask the question.

“Describe your experience in one word.”

“Fun.”

“That’s it?,” I asked.

“I don’t know, it’s just fun.”

At first, I was exasperated. But, as I started writing the article, the idea of Fun as the most illuminating description of our experiences at Studios Inc buried itself within my mind, bundled itself with my conscious and tunneled its roots into my head. Studios Inc has served as a point of education, relaxation, fulfillment, and created a few relationships that I now cherish as close friendships. I don’t know if I could survive the juggling act of college, work, and interning without the endearing support we receive from the staff here. After asking the interns here the same question, I know that they feel the same.

Written by A.K. Turner

 

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